Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who's Laughing Now?

Chadder is her name and she is, you guessed it, a Laughing Kookaburra.
Have you heard a maniacle laugh while walking our trails?  It might be Chadder.
She got her name from what she does best, chadder.  She seems to love to voice her opinion in the early morning when the sun is barely coming up and at dusk as the sun is creeping toward the horizon.

The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is the largest member of the Kingfisher family.  They are stocky birds that range from 13 to 16 ounces and range from 15 to 18 inches in length.  Females are normally slightly larger than the males.  Their beak can grow up to 4 inches in length. 

Kookaburras are native to eastern Australia, but have been introduced to Western Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania.  These birds are known for their loud call or “laugh”, which is “kook-kook-kook-ka-ka-ka” repeating multiple times.  These birds also have the nickname of “bushman’s clock” from their early morning and evening calls every day. 
This stocky little bird with the oddly shaped bill is Chadder, our Laughing Kookaburra
The Laughing Kookaburra is a carnivore and will eat large insects, other birds, small mammals, small snakes, lizards, amphibians, and sometimes fish.  Chadder is given a variety of meat each day, such as rabbit, venison, mice, fish, and sometimes beef and chicken. 

They nest in termite mounds in the Acacia forests of Australia.  They also will use hollow trees, and earthen banks.  The female will lay one to five white eggs.  Both parents will take turns incubating the eggs over a period of 25 to 29 days.  When the chicks hatch they are blind for their first three weeks of life. 

These loud birds can live 10 to 12 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.  Chadder is currently 4 years old.  She came to us from the Milwaukee County Zoo where she was hatched.  She has learned to slam a plastic lizard on the ground (this is how they kill lizards in the wild), to step up onto the hand, and to step onto a scale for weighing.  You can see below that Chadder is happily perched on her favorite perch in her exhibit.  Almost every time I pass her, she is up there keeping a look out for new visitors that come by. 
When visitors stop at her enclosure who is watching who is debatable
She is available for adoption in our Adopt a Bird program.  To find out more information  call 636-861-3225.  All adoption donations are tax deductible. 
This summer Chadder can be seen on the Exhibit Line at the World Bird Sanctuary which is open daily from 8am-5pm.  Chadder is a very boisterous little bird.  You should stop on by and visit her! 

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

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